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Buddy Rich
Neil Peart
John Bonham
Steve Gadd
Ringo Starr
Keith Moon
Carl Palmer
Gene Krupa
Max Roach
Elvin Jones
Ginger Baker
Billy Cobham
Stewart Copeland
Dennis Chambers
Jaki Leibezeit
Terry Bozzio
Bill Bruford
Hal Blaine
Mike Portnoy

The Late Great Dennis Wilson

by Joshua Adams
(Vista, CA, USA )

The Late Great Dennis Wilson

The Late Great Dennis Wilson

Most of the drummers on the said list are cliche and the music that they contributed to is mediocre to say the least.

There are certain drummers that represent the greatest music of all time and I salute them - Hal Blaine, Earl Palmer, Sandy Nelson - they were the greatest drummers of the past 55 years easily. But there are a few that didn't make the list and by doing so totaldrumsets really discredited themselves.

#1- Dennis Wilson. Sure most people know that Hal Blaine and Earl Palmer did a good amount of session work on the Beach Boys' records from '64 thru 67 and thereafter in certain sessions but Dennis did A LOT of drumming himself on their records and deserves just as much credit if not MORE than Ringo. Dennis was left handed, played a right handed kit and kept his timing playing 'open-handed' with his left hand- that is not only unorthodox but phenomenal!

#2- Marky Ramone. Anyone who acknowledges and appreciates the greatest rock bands of all time is well aware of Marky Ramone's work! From Road to Ruin to Pleasant Dreams, Brain Drain etc. His solid eighth notes were the backbone to the greatest punk rock band of all time, and next to the Beach Boys the greatest rock band of all time. So many drummers on the list that could be nixed for Marky easily.

#3- Dusty Watson. In the late 70s with the emergence of punk rock came the revival of surf music and Jon & the NightRiders were the group that started it. Dusty is the Hal Blaine of the past 30+ years- he is regarded as the "king of surf drums" and has a very impressive resume of legendary icons such as Dick Dale, punk rock veterans Agent Orange, the Queers and just about every notable surf band you can think of.

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Nov 29, 2015
More on Dennis, and an example NEW
by: Eric

Another thought on Dennis, his drumming after the forearm injury was instrumental in the '70s and '80s in transforming some of the 1960s hits into larger-scale live stadium rockers. The huge snare-tom crescendos he created for the intro to "California Girls" for instance, in effect resulted in new alternate versions of that song.

Live in Hawaii, the punishing power of Dennis' tom/snare crescendos during the intro (The Mike Douglas Show, 1981):

There is a quick shot of Dennis at 0:44 playing one of the unison fills. Dennis also liked big cymbals to go with his big drum sound.

The lead vocal when it begins is too thin, it's too bad, but of course Carl and Al and Bruce have their usual tremendous harmonies.

That intro is worthy of many listens for Dennis' titanic power and sound. Dennis also does more advanced and tricky licks and fills here than he's ever given credit for. It can be a nightmare sometimes to duplicate what he plays because of the odd unexpected nature of some of the fills and licks.

But just listen and take a look at the power at 0:44. It shows Dennis helping to make the 1965 song something heavier and more dramatic for the stage in 1981. It's a pity about the lead vocal, because Dennis' drumming is worth paying attention to throughout the song to the end.

All it takes is a little listening and studying to realize that some of the popular opinion about Dennis' drumming is wrong.

Nov 28, 2015
Denny etc. NEW
by: Eric

Thank you Mr. Adams for recognizing Dennis Wilson's drumming. He's one of my favourite drummers too, due to his sound, power and grooves such as on the second version of "Cotton Fields".

Your comment that Dennis was left-handed on a right-hand kit . . . this also goes for Ringo. Though Ringo played time with his right hand, he is left-handed and almost all of his fills led with the left hand. This made for non-cliched fills and an interesting approach. Ringo can play time with his left hand naturally.

Indeed, throughout the entire Beatles catalogue and after, you won't find a single standard cliched RLRLRLRL fill down the drums leading to a cymbal crash! This is partly why the air-drummers of the world fail to understand and appreciate Ringo's playing!

Ringo used LRLR etc. but also tons of alternating single and double stroke fills, and some triple stroke fills.

Ringo invented the slow booming humming majestic tom fills and sound. He literally invented the style and sound, and thousands of drummers emulated this from '67 on. These new slow fills are evident throughout Sgt. Pepper. These are all left-hand fills on a right-hand kit.

Ringo is a master of the fast unison fill, one of the greatest being in the break near the end of "Tell Me Why". Gregg Bissonette called it a "chops buster". "Help!", "Old Brown Shoe", and many others display his mastery of the unison fill, while average drummers are unware that he is even playing them. They don't hear them, they don't notice, as they ignorantly dismiss Ringo's playing.

Ringo's fast shuffles such as on "Help!" are also rock solid and impressive.

Oct 08, 2015
Dennis Wilson NEW
by: Anonymous

pay for my homework
- Dennis wasn't even piece of the arrangement until mother, Audrey, induced Brian and Carl to let Dennis be a band's piece. Actually, he needed to play an instrument. Since Brian did bass and piano, Al on musicality guitar, and Carl on lead guitar, that left Dennis on the drums. Dennis was a decent drummer

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